Brent crude oil gained modestly on Monday, ticking up to $105.26 at 9:22 GMT. The commodity has been under pressure recently as slowing global growth and decreased demand has caused inventories to rise and put pressure on Brent prices.
Data from the US showed that American employers fell short of expectations and added just 88,000 jobs rather than the anticipated 200,000. The figures confirmed that hiring rates were at their slowest pace in nine months and underscored worries that the number one oil consuming nation was still struggling to recover.
Problems in the eurozone also kept a lid on Brent prices as Portugal followed Cyprus' example and rejected EU mandated budget cuts. Following the botched Cypriot bailout plan, many worry that the eurozone is on shaky ground. Portugal's decision is the latest in a series of eurozone countries' acts of resistance to austerity measures.
Brent found support from the Bank of Japan's promised stimulus plan, which most analysts are expecting to prop up commodities like oil. CNBC reported that the bank will inject $1.4 trillion into the nation's economy in an effort to kick start the Japanese economy.
Looking forward, investors will be waiting for Chinese data, due out this week, for clues about the oil consuming giant's economic recovery. China's economic growth data for the first quarter of 2013 is expected to depict a moderate recovery with 8 percent growth. Industrial output is also forecast to show steady growth, while inflation is projected to ease.
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Maintaining a floor under Brent prices is the unresolved tension between the West and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program. Although leaders from both sides met this weekend, no agreement was reached and the two are expected to continue negotiations. However, US Secretary of State John Kerry remarked over the weekend that the negotiation process cannot continue forever.
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